It's a very sad story with a happy ending.

A gaunt 6-year-old mare survived wolves, sickness, 30-below temperatures, 5-foot deep snow and illness in the back country of Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming. The pack horse named Valentine had been abandoned in the deep snow at the end of a hunting trip and survived 6 weeks alone.

The horse that had fallen ill during the November hunting season and was too ill to pack out and was “left for dead but survived on its own in the wolf-infested national forest for six weeks.” Owner BJ Hill said “She hung high up North Forth and Fish Creek, and I think that’s what saved her from the wolves.”

Valentine was discovered by a snowmobile trail groomer after surviving the illness, extreme temperatures and managed to find just enough to eat under the deep snow. U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Dirk Chalfant mounted a rescue with Hill and Hill’s son, that was extremely difficult and incredibly slow as they dealt with the deep snow.

"When Valentine “spotted them she made it clear she did not want to be left behind again. She didn’t want to spend another night back there alone. If we had to leave her and drive away, I think she would have been heartbroken.” -  Dirk Chalfant

With 8 inches of new snow falling that day, the groomer and team broke trail that at times had them moving at 1 mile an hour. After about 20 miles, they got her out and trailered her to her winter home in Pavillion.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide wrote: “To be honest with you,” Chalfant said, “when we went down there, we didn’t think we could get her out. But all the stars aligned. To me, it was a Christmas miracle.”

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